When Bella Burton was just two years old, she was diagnosed with Morquio Syndrome. This rare genetic disease can lead to dwarfism and abnormal bone development, which makes it difficult to walk.
For years, Bella relied on a wheelchair and crutches to get around, which made her very unhappy. She wanted to be like all the other kids in her school, and she felt like her crutches and wheelchair stopped her from fitting in.
Then, when Bella was, eleven she met a sweet Great Dane named George. And just like that, everything changed.
George is a trained service dog who grew up at the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts. This group trains Great Danes to help people with severe balance issues. In 2015, Bella started spending a lot of time at their farm, trying to find the perfect pup.
One day, Bella stumbled upon George sleeping in his favorite loft. She curled up next to him, and he put his paw on her leg. Just like that, it was clear George was the right dog for Bella.
“It was instant. George said, ‘This is my person’ and we ran with it from there. They were made for each other,” Megan Kokaras, a head trainer at the Service Dog Project, told PEOPLE.
George headed home with Bella and her family that day. Bella started leaning on George instead of using her crutches, and soon, she was walking better than she ever had before. She was also happier—whenever she was upset, George would lay his big head on her shoulder, and she’d instantly feel better.
Bella’s mom Rachel was amazed to see how much Bella changed when George was by her side.
“We never thought she would be off crutches. And now she will go in the yard and play, even without George,” Rachel said. “To see how much stronger she’s gotten is awesome.”
Bella has also helped George face some of his fears.
Bella loves swimming and being in the water, but George wasn’t sure how he felt about it. When they were out on a lake one day, Bella encouraged him to jump in. George quickly found that he loved swimming just as much as Bella!
George has also stayed by Bella’s side during some of her more difficult times.
In September 2018, Bella had to go to the hospital for x-rays on her hip, which was causing her pain. George stayed by her side the whole time, making sure she was okay.
Bella also receives a weekly infusion of an enzyme replacement therapy. George curls up next to Bella on her bed while she’s receiving the treatment.
Bella and George are a sweet pair who love each other more anything. If you’d like to see more photos of George and Bella, check out their Facebook page.
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